Three teams went into the final round of the U20 Six Nations with a chance of lifting the championship. France U20 and England U20 were equal on match points at the top of the table but France had a vastly superior points difference. Ireland, in third place needed to beat England and hope that France slipped up against Wales.
The results from Friday night are shown below.
|ITALY||45 – 31||SCOTLAND||Stadio della Vittoria|
|ENGLAND||48 – 15||IRELAND||Ricoh Arena|
|WALES||3 – 24||FRANCE||Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay|
By the end of Friday evening France had claimed the championship by virtue of their bonus point win against Wales and England and Ireland stayed in second and third place respectively due to England’s resounding win against Ireland.
Italy moved up to fourth place following their win against Scotland in a high scoring game in Bari.
The final Championship table is shown below.
It was a disappointing end to the tournament for Ireland. We’ve been resolutely positive about this group and the new coaching ticket, but this was a poor second half performance.
In previous matches we’ve been able to put our finger on momentary lapses of concentration in defence, something that could be worked on, but this time round it was complete capitulation as England ran in five second half tries without reply.
Both teams went in the game looking for a bonus point win to strengthen their championship hopes and it started at a frantic pace. Ireland scored first when Banbridge’s James Hume crossed out wide, for an unconverted try, after collecting an inside pass from Tommy O’Brien.
England responded through their winger Ben Loader minutes later and the excitement didn’t let up as both teams went at each other with some gusto.
Ireland retook the lead through O’Brien who sliced through from the 22 to cross under the posts and with Harry Byrne adding the extras Ireland were seven in front at the end of the first quarter. Once again the lead didn’t last long as Fraser Dingwall crossed for England and Tom Hardwick converted to level the score.
It was Ireland’s turn to score in this game of tit for tat but they fluffed their chance and England took the lead for the first time with a Hardwick penalty shortly after. The home side looked to be getting on top but it appeared we were set up for an exciting second half when a Byrne penalty sent the teams into the break with the score reading 15 all.
Unfortunately, England hit their straps in the second half and Ireland fell off the pace somewhat. They struggled for parity for most of the third quarter but they were starting to loose their shape as England turned the screw.
The breakthrough came when Ireland were stripped in the England 22 and the ball was moved upfield for Ben White to score and, with O’Brien binned shortly after, the flood gates opened as Joe Heyes, Gabriel Ibitoye, Josh Basham and captain Ben Earl all crossing in the final quarter. Hardwick converted them all to give a final score of England U20 48 Ireland U20 15.
Plenty to work on between now and the U20 World Championship.